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Crystal Paine | Money Saving Mom


eBook Information:

ebook: 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

date published: October 2012

copies sold (optional): 25,000+


Social Media:


Case Study:

You were among the first bloggers to publish ebooks many, many years ago, and then you took a pretty extensive break before writing 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. How do you think the industry and ebooks changed during that time?
The industry has progressed so much since the early days of ebook-writing. I’d say the two biggest changes are the advent of social media and e-readers — both changes I’d consider to be highly beneficial to those writing ebooks.

As hard as it might be to imagine, in the “olden days” we blogged without having any social media platforms to promote our posts or products on. When I released my ebooks, I used my blog and my email newsletter to promote them on. I also set up an affiliate program and reached out to a number of other online friends who had blogs or businesses and let them know about my ebooks and affiliate program.

While I still sold thousands of ebooks through these channels, it was a LOT of work and effort on my part. Since the majority of sales were through my blog and email newsletter, I had to keep finding creative new ways to promote my ebooks to my same audience without them tiring of hearing about it or feeling like I was constantly peddling products.

Social media has opened up huge new marketing channels for ebook publishing. For instance, when I released 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, I ran a three-day giveaway with over 100 different cool products you could be entered to win — all just for sharing about my ebook on social media (either a link on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or Pinterest). I offered an affiliate program as well as encouraging my readers to share the ebook with their Amazon affiliate link, creating a win-win situation: they were entered to win cool prizes for sharing AND they would earn a percentage of all sales through the link they shared.

By encouraging my readers to share about the ebook on their social media platforms and rewarding them for doing so, I was able to get my ebook in front of thousands of people I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise — without really any extra work on my part. And the plan worked well as we sold over 10,000 copies of the ebook within the first three days of releasing it!

The invention of e-readers and mobile device has also given ebook writers a tremendous boost. Back before e-readers/devices were around, the market for ebooks was much, much smaller as purchasing an ebook meant you either had to read the book on your computer or you had to print it out. Either option wasn’t very practical, so ebooks were a much harder sell than traditional print books were.

Nowadays, not only are ebooks very accessible, but many people find them more practical than print books. Plus, the ability to easily upload your ebook to sell on Amazon offers mind-blowing potential. Where else can you get the opportunity to promote your product in front of hundreds of thousands of people that you would likely never have access to otherwise?

And best of all, the Amazon market is open to everyone. You don’t have to be anything or anyone special to produce an Amazon bestseller and make hundreds or thousands of dollars in residual income each month from your ebook sales.

I know that might sound like I’m being a little over-the-top, but I’m not. If you produce a great ebook, create an amazing cover image (unless you’re a really gifted designer, please hire someone to do it for you — the cover image can make or break your ebook’s success), write compelling sales copy, and come up with a smart marketing strategy, and work very hard, earning a part-time or full-time income from ebook sales alone is completely possible. And I know a number of people who are doing it — many who don’t have a huge blog following.

As someone who has self-published and written books with a traditional publisher, what pros and cons do you see for each format?
It’s hard to compare ebook publishing and traditional publishing because they are  so very different. And there are definite pros and cons to each.

One of the biggest pros to ebook publishing is that it’s much faster than traditional publishing. You can create a bestselling ebook from start to finish in 3 months (or even less time!). This means that you’re able to start selling it and earning income from it much more quickly than you ever would with a traditional publisher (most traditionally published books take at least 1-2 years from start to finish).

In addition, you can often earn more money with ebook publishing than you will with traditional publishing. Unless you are a New York Times best-selling author or a big-name celebrity, your advance and royalty checks for traditionally published books are likely not going to be much more than a part-time income, if that. The overhead costs are high which eats into a lot of the profits — and your royalty percentages!

On the other hand, overhead costs for ebook production are very low. You can very easily produce a high-quality ebook (including the cover and design/layout costs) for $1500 or less. If you market your ebook well, you can fairly easily make back everything you invested within the first few days of publishing your ebook. After that, everything you make is pure profit (minus the Amazon or affiliate fees) for the rest of the life of the ebook. It’s pretty hard to top that kind of investment!

You outsourced the marketing and promotion of your ebook. Can you talk about that decision and whether that's something you'd do again in the future?
I’m a big fan of delegation. Why? Because I’m only one person and if I get spread too thin, it hurts my family, my health, and my business.

When I first started my blog, I had to do everything — because I couldn’t afford to pay for anyone to help me (I was working really hard to try to scrape out a little income as it was!). I learned a lot in those early years, but when I finally was in a place to make the leap to bring on some help, it freed up so much of my time and energy to focus on what I do best and love most — writing, strategy, and big picture brainstorming.

I’ve found that I’m much more effective and the business is much more profitable if I focus my time and energy on just those few things and bring really smart people on to manage and oversee all the other facets of the business. It allows the business to grow while not taking more time and effort on my part.

When I met Ashley from, I knew that I wanted to hire her to do my ebook promotion. She had a lot of experience and knowledge into how to market an ebook well on Amazon and she was also a very hard worker — something that I look for in anyone I hire or contract with.

Not only did she help me with actually getting the ebook finished, edited, and formatting, but she and I worked together to create a game plan for my ebook launch. She had so many ideas and suggestions to bring to the table that I never would have come up with on my own. And without a doubt, I know that we’ve sold many, many more ebooks than I ever would have had I been trying to do it on my own. Best of all, it saved me hours of time — something that was worth every penny.

Would I outsource the marketing in the future? In a heartbeat. In fact, I’ve got some ebook project plans for the (hopefully) not-too-distant future and I would never even be considering them if I didn’t know that I can hire Ashley again.

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